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Sometimes the pendulum swings too far

By Walter Geiger Someone – I think it was a college professor – once explained to me that society’s collective view on things swings from side-to-side like a pendulum but never stays in equipoise for long. Equipoise is the state of being equally balanced in favor of both sides of an issue or argument. Certainly, the pendulum has swung too far to the left with regard to guns in schools. When I attended Montgomery County High School, which sits astride the border that separates the hamlets of Ailey and Mount Vernon, Georgia, way back in the early 1970s, the pendulum was far to the right. It was not at all unusual to see a friend of mine’s pickup truck parked in the school parking lot with the keys in the ignition, a shotgun in a gun rack in the rear window, boxes of shells on the seat and a bird dog named Old Blue lounging in the truck bed. Boys went hunting after school or football practice. It was just a fact of life. No one thought anything about it. The truck and gun were as safe at the school as they would have been in the vault at the bank down the road and the gun was no threat to the students. My how times have changed. Last week up north, a five-year-old boy, having seen a classmate showing off a water pistol on the school bus the day before, took his cowboy style cap pistol on the bus to keep up with the Joneses so to speak. The tyke’s mom described him as being ‘all bugs, frogs and cowboys’ – in other words, a normal, non-wussified kid. Alas, the boy’s world was shattered when the adults got involved and overreacted as they so often tend to do. The boy was suspended from school for 10 days for possessing a ‘˜look-alike weapon’. He was interrogated by his principal for over two hours before his parents were summoned. The questioning was so intense the youngster wet his pants. The principal apparently thought the kid was going to use the gun to extort an extra fish stick from the tray nazi in the school lunchroom or something. Eric Holder is likely interviewing this principal for a key spot at the IRS right now but that is another column for another day. The young cowboy’s mother is a high school teacher in the same district and was known to the principal. His dad coaches youth sports there and is also well known. To question this five-year-old over an orange tipped, obviously toy gun for two hours without his parents present is absolutely insane. Even worse, the mom was told that, had the gun been loaded with caps, the boy would have been charged with possession of explosives and the cops would have been called in. Upon reading this, my mind was immediately jerked back in time over 50 years. The neighborhood gang and I had taken rolls and rolls of caps and a pair of scissors. Painstakingly we cut open the tiny black center of the red caps and garnered the powder, hoping to blow up a fire ant bed. After much work, we got just enough powder to cause a brief flash, got bitten by multiple enraged fire ants and then went back to trying to shoot each other’s eyes out with our BB guns. The point is this: even the most dedicated Jihadist would have trouble making an explosive from cap gun ammo which, unless they’ve improved it, only goes off about a third of the time anyway. Yes, we have had horrifi c school shootings. Tragically, five-year-olds have been shot and killed at their schools. To this point, however, I have not read nor heard of a five-year-old shooter nor do I expect to. The pendulum has, indeed, swung too far. No doubt Old Blue’s descendants are not pleased with this development. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of the Herald Gazette.

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